As teachers we are always trying to find effective ways to teach our students. Their is no exact science to teaching but the more you educate yourself and really focus on the welfare of your students the easier it will become. There are so many different methods and techniques out there but you have to see what works for you. I came across the article by Judith A. Langer about teaching middle/high school students to read and write well, and it was very interesting and informative. She talked about these six features that make a difference in students performance. I was very interested in seeing what these six feature illustrated. For the sake of this blog I will give you snap shots of each feature because I know like me many of you are super busy and sometimes you need short and sweet. I will include the information for anyone who wants the full article but this is what stuck with me.
Students learn skills and knowledge in multiple lesson plans. This is what it would look like:
Provide the students with simulated group and individual activities and teach them separately.
Use three kinds of instruction to scaffold ways to think and discuss your lessons. Make connections, justify answers, and summarize.
Teachers integrate test preparation into instruction. Now you all know most of us cant stand test prep but it could be because we were looking at it all wrong. Try looking at it like this:
Find ways to integrate the skills they need for the test into the curriculum instead of teaching them a lesson on how to take the test. Give them ways to read, understand, and write effectively to gain the abilities that will make them literate for life and not to just pass the test.
A good way to also look at it is to find connections to the standards and goals that reflect the standardized test. And more importantly make sure the skills they need for the test ate learned across the year and in different grades. Teachers need to work together on this.
Teachers make connections across instruction, curriculum, and life.
Develop goals and strategies that meets students needs and are intrinsically connected to the large curriculum.
Take professional develop training that are beneficial to your school standards and curriculum framework.
Students learn strategies for doing the work.
One good strategy is to divide new or difficult tasks into segments and provide students with guides to accomplish them.
Provide strategies on how to think about tasks and not just do them.
Have your student make their own rubrics, or help you create ones. This will make them apart of the grading process which screams out inclusion.
Students are expected to be generative thinkers.
Provide your students with activities that fit many view points. For example personal, ethical, political , and social events or issues. You want your students to be able to generate deeper understanding for text.
Design follow up lesson that allow students to move beyond their initial thinking.
Classrooms foster cognitive collaboration.
Build your students up to have good team building skills. Expose them to activities where they bring their personal, cultural, and academic knowledge to a group and become learners and teachers.
Have your students engaging in lessons where they challenge each other’s ideas and responses. This will get them ready for real life experiences and interactions as an adult.
Teach them the importance of collaborations and networking.
All of these features need to work together to have the most effective outcome. It is are job to find out what best works for our students and I think this article gave me more insight and make me think on a different level. I hope this gave someone a pathway into some deeper thinking that will make your classroom stronger.
Until next time